I essentially live at the beach in the summer. The other day I was soaking up some end of summer sun and listening to some of my favourite worship music. These days whenever I’ve been feeling any anxiety or stress I try to notice it right away, and challenge it with faith that God is in control of my life – so there is no need to worry.
As I was on the beach I was listening to Oceans by Hillsong United, and the waves of Lake Huron were brushing up against the shore, I began thinking about the contrast between John Mayer’s Emoji of a Wave. Yes, this really is going to be a comparative blog post of Hillsong United and John Mayer. Strap on your seatbelt, friend.
John Mayer’s song is about heartbreak and the waves of sadness that come in times of grief and heartbreak. He is singing about his romantic heartbreak but I loved the chapter in Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong where she talked about grief and heartbreak in a wide range of contexts. Anyway, we’ve all experienced grief or heartbreak in some form at one point in our lives. In the song he talks about trying to “just hold on” – which is such a universal feeling when we feel like we’re a hot mess at the end of our rope and we are barely hanging in there.
To contrast that, the song Oceans talks about navigating tough waters by trusting one’s faith. It has the lyrics “I’ll call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves”, “In oceans deep my faith will stand” and “when oceans rise I will rest in your embrace”. Spirituality gives a different perspective, it means in those moments when you truly feel like you’re barely hanging on, if things are falling out of place in your life, or you’re struggling to stay afloat – you’ve got something bigger than yourself to lean on.
What I’ve found in my own journey is that when life gets shaken up faith is like a constant rock that keeps you grounded and shapes a healthy perspective on life. You don’t have to feel like you completely understand religion or that you have answers to all your hard questions, having faith quite simply gives you peace. It doesn’t mean life doesn’t get hard and you don’t face challenges. For myself, faith means trusting the timing of your life in a much bigger sense than the timing you think you’re in control of.
Of all the people to reference when it comes to spirituality, I get that Beyoncé is not the person you were expecting but this post has a musician theme already so please stick with me. In her film Life Is But A Dream Beyoncé talks about her faith and says “God is real, and God lives inside of me and inside all of us. And it doesn’t matter where I am I know that and I feel it”.
The line it doesn’t matter where I am I know that and I feel it is what I want to tie back to the beginning of the post. Life is full of good and bad and there is no getting around that – but we can have faith that the bad will be overcome and turn into something good. And when we are in the position of navigating wavy tides we have two options – to hold on for dear life or find a sense of calm looking beyond the circumstances to remember that there is something bigger.
Life surprises us in ways that people can’t plan. Beyoncé also talks about the idea that everything in her life, the relationships and opportunities happen for a reason. There are so many opportunities that we honestly just can’t anticipate, so much joy and so many wonderful people we didn’t even know we could want in our life that often get introduced at the most interesting times. It reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens”. It can feel at times like things in your life are out of control, but the thing is just because you’re not in control doesn’t mean the situation is. It means you have to have faith.
Faith, spirituality and religion mean a lot of different things for different people – I’m writing about it this week because in the context of holistic wellness it is pretty important. I’m not an expert, and I appreciate everyone practices their faith in different ways, but I think it’s meaningful to explore and figure out what feels right for you.
This week I haven’t jumped too deep into the details of my own personal story of faith, and this certainly isn’t a “how to guide” on spirituality, but one thing that I will say from my experience is that prayer can have a positive impact while you explore your faith. Pray for little things and big things, on good days and bad days, if you’re struggling to stay afloat and you don’t know what to do, pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “pray continually” and I’ve found that the more I pray and the stronger my faith is. If you find yourself happily settled on beach, or if you’re feeling lost at sea in an overwhelming season of life, knowing you can lean on something much larger than yourself can be a huge comfort.
I don’t have anything left to lose with the pop culture references today so I’m going to close with a Drake lyric, “We seein’ so many blessings, **it don’t make no sense
Someone watchin’ over us, so shout goes out to Him”.